A Few Snowflakes While You Sleep Saturday Night; But Snowy & Icy in the Gorge

6pm Friday…

A quick blog post this evening; busy on evening newscasts.  You can find me there.


  1. Saturday will be just like today, although clouds thicken a bit in the afternoon and a strong east wind starts blowing out of the Gorge by sunset
  2. If you live west of the Cascades in the lowlands, I don’t expect snow/ice to have any effect on your life this weekend.  95% of us will see bare roads
  3. The Columbia River Gorge could be a real mess late tomorrow night through at least midday Sunday. 1-4″ new snow, followed possibly by some light freezing rain.  That’s most likely (freezing rain) at the western end


Friday was a nice day once again…after a very chilly start!  It was the coldest morning so far this “winter”; only 26 in Portland.  The cold east wind has backed off as well.  Tonight will be similar with coldest metro spots down into the upper teens again and mid-upper 20s in the city.

Saturday starts sunny, but then clouds show up the 2nd part of the day.  The only other change will be a noticeable (chilly) east wind strengthening in the late afternoon through the evening.  Highs top out in the low-mid 40s once again.

Tomorrow night a very weak weather system passes overhead, dropping light precipitation sometime after 10pm and that continues through early Sunday.  The first few hours it could fall as snow, but I doubt temperatures will drop down to freezing in most of the metro area.  That means a dusting at best for a few spots while we sleep.   After 1am or so, warming air overhead would change most snow to rain.  BUT, near and in the Gorge that cold wind could lead to light freezing rain on top of a few inches of snow .

Regardless, roads in the metro area should be fine during this little event for 95% of usSUNDAY DRIVING WEST OF THE CASCADES WILL FEATURE BARE PAVEMENT ONLY

Snow Tonight Forecast 1

Snow Valley Salem Coast Forecast

Snow Valley Salem Coast Forecast2


A few points:

  • WRF-GFS soundings don’t inspire much confidence for snow.  See the “warm layer” develop sometime after midnight on a southeast wind.  The three soundings are 10pm, 1am, & 7am

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  • No model is showing any significant accumulations (beyond a dusting in spots.  Check out the WRF-GFS snow forecast


A closer view…


Hot off the presses…the 18z ECMWF, maybe a little in the Eola Hills west of Salem?  And cold air pushed up against the east slopes of the Coast Range could give a little snow to Yamhill, Forest Grove, & Banks…if everything works just right:


The pressure gradient through the Gorge jumps to around 10 millibars by Sunday morning.  It’ll probably be a 70 mph east wind night in Corbett and around Mt. Pleasant.  The airmass is cold enough that when the west end of the Gorge goes to liquid rain during the night, it’ll likely be freezing rain as far west as Troutdale or Camas.  This may be one of those situations with icing on objects but not pavement…we’ll see.

This is the only interesting weather I see in the next week, very mild weather continues with no sign of a long wet spell…yet.

I’ll have a fresh blog post up late tomorrow afternoon or early evening.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

23 Responses to A Few Snowflakes While You Sleep Saturday Night; But Snowy & Icy in the Gorge

  1. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Any reports from Eugene??

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    Layers of high cloud moving in here now, but I’m still assuming we’ll be dry through today. If that’s the way it will go, here are a few statistics, if anyone’s intrested: My total amount of precipitation for November 2019 was 4.44 inches. That’s my 5th driest November in 45 years. All together for 11 months this year, I have 38.14 inches. That’s well below average. If i get less than 3.04 inches for December, I’ll have a new record driest year. Possible, but unlikely. If I get about 18 inches of ppt. for the new month, I’ll have around a normal year’s amount. Again, it’s possible (considering some past months I’ve seen), but unlikely. My guess is, I’ll see about 7 inches in December- a bit below normal, and 2019 will be somewhere around the top 5 for driest years.That’s quite a difference from 2018, which was the second wettest year in my books.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Be very happy with that. Portland has 1.5” for the month and just over 22” for the year. Looking way drier than normal for at least the next 10 days too. We won’t break the all-time driest year record, but we will be close. Lucky us.

      • Roland Derksen says:

        thanks for sharing that. 22 inches is indeed quite a low amount, especially for a coastal (or near coastal) location in the PNW.

  3. Andy says:

    22 this morning in Albany. Coldest so far this week.

  4. Mr Realist says:

    I’m hearing a lot of the old timers at the hardware stores that have been predicting weather their bones and woolly Caterpillar’s for decades, calling this the lowlands only shot at winter precipitation.

    I know no one can predict crap honestly but those old boys know a trend when they see one!!

    • Saum Creek says:

      And here I thought you were a realist.

    • W7ENK says:

      Arthritic bones can’t “predict” that far out, donchya-no.

      If there’s any truth to the matter, the sensitivity comes from changes in barometric pressure, which can indicate the approach of a low pressure system, and hence a storm. Anything beyond about a day out is pure conjecture… quite like your whole story here.

  5. Don says:

    21 in Sherwood

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    -18.1 F at Horse Ridge ODOT cam on Hwy 20 east of Bend

  7. W7ENK says:

    Wooooh!! My grass is crunchy and I’m glad I covered my hose bibs…

  8. Jason Hougak says:

    -10.1F already at Horse Ridge ODOT cam on HWY. -3.3F at Sand Creek off HWY 97 south of La Pine. 2F in Redmond. Central and Eastern Oregon are bottoming out tonight. Balmy 25F here in the foothills.

  9. Mr Realist says:


  10. tim says:

    December 1990 redux would be nice but that time has past according to cliff mass as are climate continues to warm with less extreme artic blast in the future.

    • W7ENK says:

      That’s a bit of an exaggeration, don’t you think?

    • Tanis Leach says:

      2014 for example still had 2 major arctic blasts, with the second being in early Febuary with a high of 23. Its certainly still possible but won’t he as extreme as it could’ve been. Plus Mark pointed out in a 2017 blog post that contrary to other months, December has been trending slightly colder over the years.

  11. Paul Sorensen says:


  12. JERAT416 says:

    Great update Mark!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I knew it

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